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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steffen Kuehn: Leap Of Faith

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Leap Of Faith is the fourth album from Grammy-winning trumpeter Steffen Kuehn, but it's the first record to truly represent and showcase every aspect of his artistry. He produced the album, he was involved in the mixing process, he wrote eight of the ten compositions featured within, and his horn playing is central to the success of the music. This is truly Steffen Kuehn in all his glory, taking his talents to new heights and levels of visibility.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Doug MacDonald: Just for Fun

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While there are no household names on guitarist Doug MacDonald's new 2-CD set, Just for Fun (alto saxophonist Lanny Morgan or perhaps drummer Roy McCurdy may come closest), the sidemen he has chosen for a lively concert date billed as a “jazz marathon" are more than likely among the more accomplished jazz musicians you've seldom or never heard. To bolster that appraisal, one need look no farther than tenor Rickey Woodard whose solos are models of perception and coherence, or ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlotte Jazz Orchestra: Uptown Down

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Uptown Down is the second album by the Charlotte (NC) Jazz Orchestra, a credibly proficient ensemble for a city that size. Unlike its earlier, in-house endeavor, this one is intended for public consumption; also unlike its sequestered debut, the CJO has chosen this time to intersperse its half-dozen instrumentals with vocals by Renee Ebalarosa. Is that a good thing? The answer depends largely on one's fondness for big-band singers. Let's simply say that some listeners would prefer to hear an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nick Fraser Quartet: Starer

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Canadian drummer Nick Fraser follows up his trio CD Too Many Continents (Clean Feed, 2015) featuring pianist Kris Davis and saxophonist Tony Malaby with this quartet date also featuring Malaby, consummated by cellist Andrew Downing and bassist Rob Clutton. Hence, the leader imparts an atypical vista, contoured by his scrappy or terse drumming, where structural song-forms seamlessly intertwine with freedom of expression. It's like a loosely wrapped package framed on solid foundations that morph into liquefied digressions and gradually ascending ...

INTERVIEWS

Damión Reid: On Drum Artistry, The Robert Glasper Trio, and Beyond

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International drummer Damión Reid has crafted a style that is inimitable without sacrificing the ardor of modern jazz and its traditional stylistic approaches to drumming. Listening to Reid is like a history lesson on the drum--he can play everything with artful dexterity from Be-Bop to Hip Hop. Adrian Kirchler, owner of AK drums, was so impressed by Reid's performance at a concert that it inspired him to create a snare drum entitled, “The Damión Reid Signature Model." However, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Guitars Galore: Major Vistas, Joe Policastro Trio, Dan Arcamone, Charlie Ballantine, Sound Underground, Kay-Ta Matsuno

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A brief overview of several notable 2016 contemporary jazz releases featuring guitarists. Major Vistas Minor Anthems Self Produced 2016 A fresh approach to the jazz trio, and the debut release from Madison, Wisconsin's Major Vistas. Keyboardist Mike Weiser says he thinks of it as a modern “organ" trio, but he tends to use Fender Rhodes sounds more than Hammond low tones for the bass. The band cites guitarists John Scofield and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

JD Allen: Americana

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JD Allen is an artist who always delivers. He is also an artist who takes risks, willing to explore his limitations, and then break them; to expose his vulnerabilities, and reflect upon their source and meaning. His experimentation is not obvious. It spirals inwards, orbiting the central axis of jazz, while traversing its various trajectories with elegance, depth, and intense regard to produce deeply personal statements that draw in audiences and listeners like moths to flame. His latest ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Danish Radio Big Band: A Good Time Was Had By All

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To mark its fiftieth anniversary in 2014, the Danish Radio Big Band produced a wide-ranging six-CD set encompassing highlights from the years 1964-2014 while spotlighting a number of well-known guest artists from the U.S. and elsewhere. The band is heard in studio and in concert, at home and abroad, and is sometimes referred to as the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra (having begun life as the New Radio Dance Orchestra). All of the material herein has been previously ...


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